10 Thoughts On… The Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic
Since the announcement of The Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, I’ve been excited. Tag team wrestling is excellent fun, and if we’re honest with ourselves, has been a little overlooked since the legendary days of the Dudleys, Hardys and Edge & Christian. Most people won’t look back on fond memories of Deuce ‘n’ Domino or Kenzo Suzuki & Rene Dupree holding the straps, because there was so little storyline or general investment in the division. With New Day dominating the scene on the main roster thanks to their ever entertaining brand of irritating enthusiasm, it’s been fascinating to see what NXT have been doing with their tag teams in the tournament to honour the son of a plumber. Here are some thoughts I had. 10 of them, in fact, because who has 11 thoughts on a subject? No-one.
When looking at the vast amount of duos that have assembled for this tournament, it seems pretty safe to say that the future of tag team wrestling in WWE could be very strong if said teams are implemented in the right way. It’s a big if, but given solid programmes, hopefully the Tag Team Classic will act as a springboard for many of the talented, yet currently unfeatured acts, to bounce off from.
When it first started, I just didn’t know who’d win. How great is it when wrestling isn’t predictable? RHETORICAL QUESTION ALERT. It’s really great.
I can’t help but think one of the key reasons this tournament was set up was to create Finn Balor’s next feud. And that’s no bad thing. Samoa Joe and Balor have made for a cohesive unit, but if Joe doesn’t turn on the Irishman in the final I will not only eat my hat, I’ll regurgitate it and eat it again. I have tickets to Takeover, live in the UK in December, and I want to watch those two put on a clinic with the NXT Championship on the line while I scream my voice dry from the sixth row.
I love Enzo and Big Cass. This isn’t technically a thought on the Tag Team Classic per say, but I’ve been meaning to mention how brilliant they are for a while now. WWE is a business of entertainment, and that’s exactly what they do. Entertain. I genuinely believe they could follow in the footsteps of the New Age Outlaws. While their style is a little different due to their size and skill set disparities, their overblown entrance and playfulness on the mic is eerily reminiscent of the Ass Man and the D, O double G. They could easily have entire crowds repeat their lines with them just like they do at Full Sail, and imagine this… New Day v Enzo & Cass. You’re welcome.
The execution of multiple storylines has been exceptional. There are so many intricate details to the tournament, and the Raw writers really should be taking a leaf out of the NXT playbook. While at first I felt them stunted, the short backstage promos by the majority of teams have set the scene immaculately. Just off the top of my head, I can think of a heap of narratives to have been implemented. The mini feud between Tyler Breeze and Bull Dempsey off the back of their loss; the way the Ciampa and Gargano story played out; the pairing of former enemies Rhyno and Corbin; the Vaudvillains and Blake & Murphy continuing their feud; the progression of Jordan & Gable and Dawson & Wilder… So many levels. It’s like a well thought out onion, with layer upon layer of deliciousness, just without the crying at the end.
There’s only been one thing missing for me here, and that’s Dusty Rhodes. Now obviously he can’t be there literally – that would be in pretty ill taste – but this tournament is in his honour and the WWE has reams of footage. Seeing highlights of some of Dusty’s tag matches throughout his huge amount of runs with various partners would’ve been a fitting tribute, and a way for a younger audience to learn about the history of the business.
As I wrote that there was “only one thing missing”, I realised I was lying. If they were up to it, seeing the Rhodes brothers in this tournament would’ve added huge emotional depth and another established team to help put over the youngsters. While it then might be odd to have them lose it, it could have led to Stardust, maybe back as Cody, having a feud set up with a new NXT superstar on the main roster after the tournament. And I don’t know what Dustin’s plans are, but it could also have served as a fitting final run.
Would there have been room to do a Divas Tag Team Classic? It was incredibly profound watching Total Divas, and on Raw when the whole roster paid tribute to Dusty, how much he touched the lives of the young women in the business. Rhodes’ influence on the quality of the current crop of female talent shouldn’t be overlooked, and while a Divas tournament would of course have been smaller, it would’ve been interesting to see. The Divas Revolution is desperately lacking in credible storylines outside of NXT, and this could have seriously aided in remedying the issue.
It’s been intriguing to see how they’ve shown some of these matches. They’ve not all aired in their entirety on WWE programming, as many have taken place at live events in small scale venues. It continues to give NXT an indy feel, and adds a degree of importance to what would otherwise be your usual house shows for those in attendance.
I really hope this tournament doesn’t go the way of the Andre The Giant Battle Memorial, which lost all credibility with how WWE handled the winners. It really should stand as an achievement to be victorious here, whether they decide to make it an annual event or not.
A tribute for Dusty Rhodes, not for Roddy Piper. Just saying.
Tags: Break The Walls Down, Dusty Rhodes, Dusty Rhodes tag Team Classic, Enzo & Cass, Finn Balor, NXT, The Vaudevillains